A weekend in…

Five stun­ning Mod­ernism com­plexes

With Gaudí as their most cel­e­brated com­rade, the Modernists gave Eix­am­ple its unique and en­chant­ing char­ac­ter. The dis­trict’s most fa­mous Mod­ernism site is – of course – the Sagrada Fa­milia, yet there are plenty more in­spir­ing ar­chi­tec­tural gems to ad­mire

- Arts · Architecture · Urbanism · World Heritage Committee · UNESCO · Josep Puig i Cadafalch · St. George · Catalonia · Lluís Domènech i Montaner · Palau

OPEN-AIR MOD­ERNISM

At the turn of the 20th cen­tury, the rich in­dus­trial Eusebi Guëll asked the yet-tobe-dis­cov­ered ar­chi­tect An­toni Gaudí to build him a lush gar­den dis­trict in the city’s sub­urbs. On his do­main of 17.2 hectares, he wanted to build a fairy­tale-like, foresty gar­den with 40 houses. In the end, only two of them would get built: one for Guëll, and one for Gaudí him­self. Steal­ing the show are, how­ever, the mo­saic bench, lizard sculp­ture and grand stair­case. Since 1984, Park Guëll is listed as a UNESCO World Her­itage site.

Park Güell, Car­retera del Carmel 23. €10 (dis­counts avail­able). Open daily from 8am to 8.30pm (5.30pm in win­ter).

JUST AN­OTHER CITY CAS­TLE

Eix­am­ple counts so many Mod­ernist gems that most peo­ple don’t even look up at them any­more. A palace worth lift­ing the gaze for, how­ever, is Casa de les punxes (or, house of the spikes). De­signed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, this build­ing clearly il­lus­trates the ver­sa­til­ity of the ar­chi­tect. To­day, you can visit part of it, while the other half is oc­cu­pied by of­fices, shops and a bank.

Casa de les punxes, Avin­guda Di­ag­o­nal 420. €13.50 (dis­counts avail­able). Open daily from 10am to 7pm.

DOU­BLE BILL

At Pas­seig de Grà­cia, Barcelona’s most ex­pen­sive street, you’ll find some of the finest Mod­ernist build­ings in the world. Among the most fa­mous is Casa Batlló, a colour­ful mas­ter­piece by Gaudí which, ac­cord­ing to ru­mours, rep­re­sents Saint Ge­orge (the pa­tron saint of Cat­alo­nia) as he kills the dragon. The hub­bly, colour­ful roof would be the dragon and the chim­ney the sword. What makes this build­ing even nicer is its unity with the neigh­bour­ing Casa Amatller, a house de­signed by the afore­men­tioned Josep Puig i Cadafalch (like Gaudí, an ap­pren­tice of Lluís Domènech i Mon­taner). Though not as fa­mous as many other Mod­ernist tem­ples in the city, Casa Amatller has one of the most pre­cious fa­cades in town, with mes­meris­ing yel­low pat­terns and tiles.

Casa Batlló, Pas­seig de Grà­cia 43. €25 (dis­counts avail­able). Open daily from 9am to 9.30pm. Casa Amatller, Pas­seig de Grà­cia 41. €16 (dis­counts avail­able). Open daily from 10am to 6pm.

CARTE BLANCHE

Rarely does an ar­chi­tect get to­tal free­dom from his ben­e­fi­ciary. Yet, when Gaudí de­signed Casa Milà, that was ex­actly what Pere Milà granted him. The in­dus­trial mogul had such con­fi­dence in the Mod­ernist mas­ter that he gave him full fi­nan­cial and cre­ative free­dom. His only re­quire­ment was that the build­ing would be un­like any­thing the world had ever seen. And that, Gaudí de­liv­ered! The façade of the build­ing doesn’t count a sin­gle straight line, and in­stead of the Mod­ernist sta­ples of brick and glazed ceram­ics, Casa Milà is en­tirely con­structed with di­men­sion stone and iron, lead­ing to the nick­name La Pedrera, or the quarry. In­side, you’ll find a myr­iad of lush halls, and on the rooftop ter­race, you’ll stum­ble upon a se­ries of mighty, sol­dier­shaped chim­neys, gaz­ing over the city.

Casa Milà, Pas­seig de Grà­cia 92. €22 (dis­counts avail­able). Open daily from 9am to 8.30pm (and to 6.30pm from Novem­ber un­til Fe­bru­ary).

THE GUËLL EM­PIRE

The col­lab­o­ra­tion between Eusebi Guëll and An­toni Gaudí sur­passed the cre­ation of just their gar­den of Eden. As a man with deep pock­ets, Guëll asked Gaudí to de­sign many more build­ings for him, each more im­pres­sive than the last. Right out­side of Barcelona, you’ll find Colo­nia Guëll, an ar­ti­fi­cial neigh­bour­hood for the em­ploy­ees of Guëll’s tex­tile fac­tory and their fam­i­lies. At the cen­tre of this dis­trict stands an in­trigu­ing crypt with colour­ful win­dows, cheer­ful mo­saic and a funky shape, all in Gaudí’s un­mis­take­able style. In fact, the ar­chi­tect went on to de­sign an en­tire church for the colony, but the con­struc­tion of it was never com­pleted. As he left no plans of the build­ing, just vague sketches of how it could have looked, Gaudí’s vi­sion for this church will al­ways re­main a mys­tery. For even more Guëll glory, head to El Raval and visit the fam­ily’s man­sion: Palau Guëll (see page 44).

Colo­nia Güell, Car­rer Claudi Guëll 6 (Santa Coloma de Cervello). €8.50 (dis­counts avail­able). Open daily from 10am to 7pm (5pm in win­ter) dur­ing the week and to 3pm on week­ends.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Colo­nia Guëll
Colo­nia Guëll
 ??  ?? Casa Batlló.
Casa Batlló.
 ??  ?? Park Guëll.
Park Guëll.
 ??  ?? Casa de les punxes.
Casa de les punxes.
 ??  ?? Casa Milà.
Casa Milà.

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